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Hollywood brings out a new breed of brawn

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Hollywood brings out a new breed of brawn Empty Hollywood brings out a new breed of brawn

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:25 am

It's raining men. That's the weather forecast for moviegoers as a flood of fresh male faces ? and buff bods ? hits the big screen this year.

* Henry Cavill, whom cable viewers might remember from Showtime's The Tudors, will ripple across the big screen next fall in Immortals.

By Jan Thijs, War of the Gods

Henry Cavill, whom cable viewers might remember from Showtime's The Tudors, will ripple across the big screen next fall in Immortals.

By Jan Thijs, War of the Gods

Henry Cavill, whom cable viewers might remember from Showtime's The Tudors, will ripple across the big screen next fall in Immortals.

The reason for the influx: A perfect storm of genres that requires a replenishing of the film industry's dwindling stock of prime beefcake.

With studio slates packed with would-be superhero franchises, the rollout of more Clash of the Titans-style epics and a surge in fairy-tale adventures that require both virile peasants and handsome princes, there's a run on actors between the ages of 20 and 35 capable of filling the needs of such cinematic fantasies.

"The sheer volume of these types of films is a casting nightmare," says Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for "These are big shoes to fill, and you don't want actors who are interchangeable."

Good looks alone do not guarantee a perfect fit. That's especially true of comic-book avengers who must meet sky-high fan expectations. Brandon Routh's career was all but grounded after the lukewarm reception to his Man of Steel in 2006's Superman Returns.

In the past, adaptations that took casting chances soared, including such offbeat hires as funny guy Michael Keaton, who kicked off the first Batman franchise in 1989, and the less-than-strapping Tobey Maguire, who added emotional depth to the role of Spider-Man in 2002. Going the unconventional route paid off more recently with the brainier-than-brawny Robert Downey Jr. in 2008's Iron Man.

This new breed of Hollywood male, however, basically boils down to two flavors: super-soulful and slim or ultra-masculine and muscular.

Defining this dichotomy are Andrew Garfield, 27, the lanky British-American guy from The Social Network who has been recruited for the 2012 Spider-Man reboot, and Christian Bale, 37, typically a meatier Welsh-born specimen who dons Batman's cowl for the third time in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises.
The 'Twilight' factor

The reason for the double standard?

"It's the two archetypes you see in Twilight," Dergarabedian suggests. In one corner is brooding vampire Edward and, in the other, burly werewolf Jacob. "It's probably an attempt to make sure women see these films."

Not a bad guess. Yes, the target audience of such geek-squad fare remains men 18 to 25, who can almost always be counted on to show up for at least the opening weekend of a comic-book adventure. But as the cost for special-effects and possible 3-D treatment escalates, it isn't a bad idea to reach beyond the core crowd and add some eye candy for the ladies as well.

Consider that the first three romantic Gothic thrillers based on the hugely popular book series have collected nearly $1.8 billion total in worldwide ticket sales by targeting female ticket buyers.

Meanwhile, barely known actors Robert Pattinson, 24, and Taylor Lautner, 19, turned into overnight sensations. Besides, it is normal for the definition of a movie hunk to go in cycles, says Jeanine Basinger, head of film studies at Wesleyan University.
Wanted: 'Something prettier'

"Just as hats change, male looks come and go," the historian says, "from rough and tough to pretty and delicate. A lot of it is linked to what adolescent girls like. Often it's the same thing that grown women will like and men will like. Now, we are into the fantastical, which requires something prettier than war stories."

Nor does it surprise her that Twilight is setting the template. "All of a sudden, everyone wants to look like one of these male stars," Basinger says of Pattinson, a Brit whose bloodsucker issues forth a Bryronic air, and Lautner, the all-American beast-next-door who has several high-paying action roles in the works.

Not everyone suiting up to be a superhero is a newcomer. Ryan Reynolds, who earned his comic-book cred as mutant mercenary Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is leaping into the lead in The Green Lantern (June 17).

But often, the filmmakers behind these adventures prefer an up-and-comer who doesn't carry the burden of an established identity or a hefty star salary ? which is why many are imports from the U.K. or Australia.

Also, Brits are better trained dramatically, says Matthew Vaughn, the London-born director of the prequel X-Men First Class. "It is interesting how the new Batman (Bale), Superman (Henry Cavill) and Spider-Man (Garfield) are all British. It comes down to their acting ability. Great actors make me look better."
Bring on the new blood

Then there is Michael Fassbender, the 33-year-old German-born superstar in the making who was raised in Ireland. He was granted the pivotal X-Men role of Magneto (the villainous mutant played in earlier films by Ian McKellan).

"I was imagining Magneto as a young Sean Connery, charming and edgy," says Vaughn, who put the future James Bond, Daniel Craig, on the casting map as a conniving coke dealer in 2004's Layer Cake.

"Michael oozes charisma, and he is a brilliant actor. Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Steve McQueen? there aren't that many like them anymore who carry their persona on- and off-screen. Michael is the real deal."

Beyond talent, a lesser name often works better plotwise, especially when first establishing a character in a franchise.

"A lot of these movies are origin stories," notes Catherine Hardwicke, director of the original Twilight in 2008 who was responsible for casting Pattinson and Lautner. She believes that big names like Leonardo DiCaprio, a teen idol back in his Titanic days, have outgrown such parts.

Fresh blood also makes practical sense. After all, Sam Worthington, the Aussie who broke through in the past two years after the success of Avatar and Clash of the Titans, can't be in every action film. Much like Russell Crowe, a fellow Aussie and Oscar winner for 2000's Gladiator, couldn't handle the crush of epic roles that his film generated.

In fact, Hardwicke followed a variation on her own Twilight blueprint in casting two relatively untested actors as Amanda Seyfried's rival beaus in Red Riding Hood, a lusty take on the Brothers Grimm tale that opened last weekend.

As Henry, the good-boy blacksmith, she hired fair-haired dreamboat Max Irons, 25, the London-born son of Oscar winner Jeremy Irons.

"He is sensitive and heartfelt, the one your mother wants you to marry," the director says. "More the emo type."

Meanwhile, Shiloh Fernandez, 26, is outsider Peter, a dark-locked woodsman who exudes a dangerous vibe. "He is alienated and isolated."

If there is any advice that aspiring leading men should heed, it is this: Get thee to a gym. You ain't got a thing if you ain't got those abs.

Blame the barely clad warriors in 2006's Spartan epic 300 or those shirtless dudes in Twilight's Wolf Pack, but rippling tummies are the new cleavage.

Consider that Hardwicke asked Irons and Fernandez to work out so they would be physically believable in their roles. "Their characters make a living using their arms," she says. "I told Shiloh, 'This guy is a woodcutter. He has to lift heavy logs. I want you in the gym every day.' "

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Post by Admin on Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:39 pm

Michael Fassbender, 33

By Laurie Sparham, Focus Features

Birth place: Heidelberg, Germany, but raised in Ireland

The look: Euro-suave

Height: 6-foot

Where you've seen him: As Spartan warrior Stelios in '300' (2006); as British soldier Archie Hicox in 'Inglorious Basterds' (2009)

Where you will see him: As the brooding Mr. Rochester in the just-opened 'Jane Eyre'; as Roman soldier Dias in 'Centurion' (Aug. 27); as the young Magneto in 'X-Men First Class' (June 3); as an android in Ridley Scott's 'Alien' prequel 'Prometheus' (June 8, 2012)

Fun fact: Lost 31 pounds and weighed 130 when he played jailed IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands in 2008's critically acclaimed 'Hunger'

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Post by Admin on Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:59 pm

Hollywood’s New Hunk Factor Doesn’t Bode Well for Young Actresses
Posted on 17 March 2011

It’s a great time to be a young actor, particularly if you’re from Great Britain or Australia. And if you’re a guy.

A cover story in yesterday’s USA Today positively thrills over the bumper crop of new young hunks that Hollywood has lined up to fill the burgeoning number of roles designed to attract its most important target market: young men, 18 – 25 years old. A big benefit from using so many young men from both the British Isles and Australia is that these fellows tend also to be better trained in acting than their American counterparts, and while they speak English, of course, they also possess a certain international appeal — which is key to winning oversees audiences. Because so many of these young up-and-comers are new to the profession, they’re much less expensive to hire than their better-established (and somewhat older) American counterparts like Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, or Canadian hunk Ryan Reynolds.

One more benefit? These hunks — both savage and sultry in style — also appeal to female audiences of all ages who’ve proven in recent years to be almost as potent a box office force as the young male demographic.

Hollywood’s hunky bumper-crop of actors: Henry Cavill as Theseus in “Thor”; Tom Hardy in “Warrior”; Alex Pettyfer, who stars in “Now”; Anthony Mackie in “Real Steel”; Nicholas Hoult in “X-Men: First Class”; Liam Hemsworth, who stars in the forthcoming “Arabian Nights”; his brother Chris Hemsworth as the superhero “Thor”; Garrett Hedlund in Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”; Cam Gigandet in “Priest”; Shiloh Fernandez in “Red Riding Hood”; Michael Fassbender in “Jane Eyre”; and Max Irons in “Red Riding Hood”. A slightly older generation: Ryan Reynolds, Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhall. Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

The big loser (and there’s always a big loser in any equation)? Aspiring young actresses.

For years, working actresses have complained of the disparity in the number of leading roles in the majority of pictures made throughout the year. Even when there is a film filled with juicy, marquee-grade parts for women, the actresses who fill them get paid far less than their male counterparts. It wasn’t always thus: in the Golden Era of Hollywood, from roughly 1930 – 1960, women worked as least as much as men and were often paid as well, to boot. No longer.

The bumper crop of films in production and due for release featuring the guys celebrated by USA Today do include some roles for women, but they’re in the minority. You’d think all those 18 – 25 year-old guys would want to spend their time watching talented and attractive young women on the big screen. Alas, they like them some bromance, car chases and shoot-em-ups too darn much. So Hollywood plays to their tastes and keeps giving us movies based on comic book heroes, sci-fi adventures and stories short on plot and long on blazing guns. That they occasionally throw in a little T-and-A doesn’t really compensate for the lack of leading roles for the many established and up-and-coming actresses in America, much less the U.K., Canada and Australia.

Until Hollywood is convinced that films about strong and interesting women can reliably (and consistently) deliver at the box office, the movies will remain a man’s world.
This post was written by:

Derek Gordon - who has written 272 posts on Daily Casserole.

Derek Gordon is the founder and publisher of Daily Casserole. You can follow him on Twitter at, Facebook at and LinkedIn at

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